HAVING to stand up and talk in front of a group of hundreds of people for the first time is nerve-wrecking enough.
But Megan Chessell also faced the worry of having her hair shaved off in a school assembly.
The gutsy 16-year-old kept her cool and did both with aplomb in order to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes – a condition she has had to deal with since the age of two.
The condition, which means her body cannot control sugar levels in the blood, can be debilitating, leaving her with no energy at times.
Megan, of Quarely Road, Leigh Park, spoke to pupils at Park Community School about how she has to inject herself with insulin several times a day to control glucose levels in her blood.
She also has to prick her fingers with a monitor to read her blood sugars.
Megan gave the presentation and had her hair shaved off alongside her best friend, Shannon Gee, 15, whose nephew died after complications with diabetes.
Megan said: ‘We made a PowerPoint presentation and spoke about how diabetes can affect you.
‘It was quite scary. It’s something I had not done before and in front of quite a lot of people.’
It was Mary Crown, Megan’s grandmother from West Leigh, who discovered Megan had the condition as a baby.
‘She noticed the symptoms,’ said Megan.
‘I have to measure my blood sugar levels all day every day for the rest of my life. You get used to it – it’s part of me now.
‘If I did not have it, my life would be completely different.’
The day raised £109 for Diabetes UK. Sue Walker, deputy headteacher at Park Community School, said: ‘I was very impressed.
‘They were a bit nervous about it but organised the whole lot themselves. A huge number of people suffer with diabetes on a daily basis and it’s with them for life.’
The hair was cut by former pupil and local stylist Kim Cain.
The rate of people affected by Type 1 diabetes is increasing by four per cent annually, particularly in children under five. Research continues in a bid to understand the reasons.